Steve Glass Photography
It's not your picture, it's your image.

Retouching & Developing

What's the difference between developing an image and retouching an image? I try to answer that question here on this page.

What is the difference between retouching and developing?


Developing an image is adjusting it for tone, color, and contrast. This includes cropping it and fine tuning the composition. This is accomplished in a RAW conversion software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Capture One. For the most part adjustments made in Lightroom and Capture One happen to the entire photograph or "global" adjustments. Adobe and Phase One keep adding features to these programs but serious retouchers use Adobe Photoshop to retouch. Pixel replacement and manipulation is best accomplished in Photoshop. For serious retouching it is the industry standard tool and nothing else comes close as of this writing.


Retouching refers to work done in Photoshop. Much is possible in Photoshop but time is money so I try to get as much right in camera. For headshot photography Photoshop is used to remove blemishes, scars, cleaning up hair, blending skin tones, removing redness in skin and eyes, adding eyebrows or eyelashes, pushing in a waistline, changing the color of a sweater etc... This is all part of photography retouching in Photoshop. To do well it is painstaking work. A typical headshot with the retouch I include in my pricing takes 20 to 40 minutes. Beyond that retouching incurs an upcharge and the cost varies as to what you want done.

Do You Need Retouching Or Just Developing?

My experience is most everyone wants retouching to some degree. The only exception seems to be pre-adolescent actors. They naturally have great skin as we all did prior to our teenage years. For the most part people want some retouching work done. For that reason I include retouching in my pricing.

What Retouching is Included?

Removing blemishes, age spots, eye redness, skin redness, tidying up the hairline, minor clothing fixes, fixing moire when it occurs, thinning the face some, adding some contouring, and minor clothing fixes. To do more than that is an upcharge and are quoted as needed.